Pros and cons of the White Sox's first "Make An Impact" ad

Needs a knit cap. - Christian Petersen

Future ads can go in different directions, all of them (probably) serious

When we last talked to Brooks Boyer, he wasn't ready to unveil the 2013 White Sox's marketing campaign yet, and the clues he offered were too vague to ponder further.

On Tuesday, we now know what the "significant social component" is all about. The theme is "Make An Impact," and here's the introduction:

In general, serious baseball ads are automatically disappointing to people who want their White Sox ads as clever and subversive as they think they are. Give me a one-take deal of Bill Melton reading off all of the Sox's social media channels, and I'd tweet the crap out of it. But you can't put that on a ribbon LED board (no).

Really, the goal is a succinct idea that can be used in a bunch of ways hundreds of times without grating on customers. In this sense, "Make An Impact" works well enough (I watched it a dozen times). But since the tendency is to look at marketing with a jaundiced eye, I figured I'd flip the order and start with the bad news first.

Cons

No. 1: As a rallying cry, "Make An Impact" is oblique, like "Affect The Outcome." Then again, there's probably a reason for it (see Pro No. 4).

No. 2: There's a daytime basic-cable feel to the ad. Might be the sound mixing with Alexei Ramirez in the gym. Or it could be the turn-of-the-century chugging guitar/double-bass metalish track. Or it might be the filtering. Or some combination thereof.

No. 3: It's hard to imagine "Make an Impact" allowing for humorous detours later. As somebody who watches a lot of other team's broadcasts, I always look forward to the Seattle Mariners commercials for that reason. Maybe the Sox don't have anybody with Felix Hernandez's comic chops.

Pros

No. 1: It's good to see Ramirez featured prominently. International players tend to get overlooked because of the language barrier.

No. 2: "Make An Impact" passes the Bjaardker Test, in that it can't really be used against the team with any kind of stinging derision the way "All In" was. Smartasses rolled up their sleeves anticipating opportunities to muck around with "Appreciate The Game," but hey, that one ended up working out pretty well.

No. 3: Prominent hashtags (#MAKEANIMPACT) are inelegant, but this one is preferable to #GetUrBlackOn, which made me uncomfortable as a guy who texts in longhand.

No. 4: "Make An Impact" doesn't fit neatly in Jon Bois' Sloganalysis study at this point. The first commercial suggests it's a "Slogan Implying That The Teams Will Do Sh*t" campaign. However, given the Sox's award-winning efforts on the community outreach front, it sounds like it could be a "Slogan Trying To Get You To Do Sh*t Instead" at a later date. Both categories fared poorly, so it's best if it straddles the line.

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